By Bad Seed
The misty rain from upcountry Maui showers Grant Kawasaki and Darren Strand from Maui Pineapple as they tour the fields in Haliimaile.
Maui Pineapple Company brings a century of agricultural operations, including farming, harvesting and canning, retail management, and research and development to Hawaii and her people.
With his extensive land holdings firmly rooted on Maui, Henry Perrine Baldwin formed Keahua Ranch Company in 1909, which changed to Haleakala Pineapple Company in 1929 and eventually became Maui Pineapple Company, Ltd. in 1932. In West Maui, H.P. Baldwins Honolua Ranch became Baldwin Packers when it turned to pineapple as its primary crop.
Eventually, the company grew to cultivate several thousand acres in pineapple, which were harvested for canning and juice. Maui Pineapple Company purchased the Kahului cannery facility in 1934 and began hauling all their fruit from the fields in Haliimaile, East Maui by five-ton trucks. Over the next decade, the Haliimaile Plantation village grew to include a dispensary, gym, kitchen, theater, meeting hall and store.
In Central Maui, the cannery was a hive of activity for processing canned pineapple and pineapple juice. The company employed hundreds of workers, many of whom stayed for a lifetime. In 1962, West Mauis Baldwin Packers and the Maui Pineapple Company operations merged under one umbrella. The Lahaina cannery was closed and all pineapple processing moved to Kahului Cannery. In the late 1960s, the company entered into a joint venture known as the Maui Container Company to manufacture cans. For four decades, Maui Pineapple Company processed millions of tons of pineapple and manufactured billions of cans. In 2007, the can plant and cannery processing facility closed.
When Maui Gold® extra sweet pineapple was introduced in 2005, Maui Pineapple Companys focus turned to fresh pineapple for wholesale and retail markets. The company began building a $24 million, cutting edge multi-purpose processing facility in Kahului next to its cannery, which opened in June 2006. While this facility concentrates on fresh fruit packing, it also provides agricultural services, such as refrigerated storage, freight consolidation and warehousing to the greater Maui farming and food processing community.
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